1 incredible way to give your life meaning and purpose.

Posted by | Ambassadors, Blog, Do It In A Dress, Opportunities | No Comments

If you’d met me five years ago, I would’ve told you that life sucked. I’d just returned from a trip to Sierra Leone, which had completely changed my view of the world.

I’d spent my years prior to this working as a web designer. My life consisted of shopping, drinking, partying – and not much else. Although it seemed like ‘the normal’ thing to do, I felt empty inside. Something was missing.

Meaning. A purpose.

I had an inkling that I was meant to do something great while I was here, but I didn’t know what it was. At the very least, I knew I wanted my life to mean something. I wanted to make a difference for the women and girls I’d met across Africa, and I wanted the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

So I began to look. I went hunting for opportunities to ‘make a difference’ – and at every turn, I got stopped. Was any charity interested in anything more than just my credit card? If I did fundraise how would I know where my money went?

Was I responsible for creating change or was I just another name in a long list of replaceable donors?

How about volunteering? Could I do something meaningful there? Perhaps – but I felt boxed. I had so much energy and enthusiasm, and the idea of stuffing mail into envelopes to ‘make a difference’ just didn’t appeal to me.

I wanted more. I wanted to be surrounded by a tribe of passionate people who were out to make a serious difference in the world. Changemakers. Revolutionaries. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to use my skills and talents to make a difference. I wanted to engage my community in something and that I cared about AND most importantly I wanted to know that the actions I were taking were having a real impact.

So when I co-founded One Girl, I knew that this would be at the core of everything we do.

And that’s why we now offer people the opportunity to become Ambassadors for One Girl.

We thought,

“There are millions of people out there looking for an opportunity to give back and make a serious difference in the world. So let’s get them together in the same room, and give them the tools to do it.”

We launched our Ambassador opportunity last year, and what happened shocked us.

We saw our Ambassadors start projects that inspired their community.

Nina, a mum and absolutely go-getter, inspired her entire Camberwell community to get involved – she raised over $20,000 and the lives of more than 60 girls.

We had 84 amazing ambassadors get their school dress on, and they raised enough money to give almost 400 girls access to education. Their faces and stories were plastered across the media and more than 4.6 million people saw their stories and were inspired by what they did. They gave talks, ran movie screenings, created art exhibitions and some even started new businesses where the profits support girls in the developing world.

This is what’s possible when you give connected, powerful people the tools they need to change the world.

And now, we want more.

This year, we’re looking for 100 self-motivated and extraordinary people to take stand for the 60 million girls around the world who aren’t in school.

People with a desire to lead, to give their life meaning and who know that they can really shake up their communities. If you’ve got what it takes to be an Ambassador, you’ll be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone, wear a school dress, be willing to appear in the media and connect with a powerful tribe of thought leaders and action takers.

Our Ambassadors are the driving force behind the One Girl movement, and it’s their actions that give us the opportunity to educate thousands of girls, and get us one step closer to our 1 million girl goal.

If this sounds like you, then please check out our Ambassador page and apply. We look forward to meeting you ☺

Magbfath community school

This community’s dreamt of a school for years; now it’s becoming a reality.

Posted by | Blog, School Awesomisation, Sierra Leone | No Comments

The Magbfath Line community is in remote, rural Sierra Leone. For years they’ve dreamt of a new school building for their children to learn, grow and thrive in. For years this has only been something they’ve only been able to imagine, but a few weeks ago they began to see it come to life.

Today we’re excited to be sharing the first project report from one of our partners, CORD-Sierra Leone about the construction of the FIRST ever school we’re building in Sierra Leone. Cue the *goosebumps*…

To refresh your memories, Magbafth is one of the rural Sierra Leone communities that we work in. We have a number of scholarship girls at the school there, and we’ve also helped the community build the most Awesome toilet ever. In the beginning it was literally one of the worst schools we’d ever seen, with big gaping holes in the walls, and bamboo scaffolding being used to keep the building upright. Yikes. But with the help of our amazing Do It In A Dress‘ers we’ve been able to raise enough money to build a brand new one!

We’ve put the full report up on our Internal Documents page, and you can check it out in all it’s glory there. (We’ve taken out the names of people to protect their privacy).

There’s a bit of development-speak in the report, so to decode it here’s the gist:

All the activities in the first stage of construction have been implemented as planned and fortunately the team in Magbafth hasn’t faced any delays or difficulties in getting the groundwork of the new school building completed – on time and under budget. Boo-yah!

As you’ll read in the report we’ve been particularly successful in getting the local community involved and really encouraging them to take ownership of this project. We’re now about to start building the main infrastructure, which will also involve training school management committee members in building maintenance. Basically, how to look after the school after it’s completed, to ensure it’s around for many more generations to benefit.

Magbafth new school

I remember the very first meetings I had with the Magbafth community about building a new school and even back then I could feel the community’s excitement about the possibility of new future for their children.

The idea from for the new school really came from the Magbfath community themselves – we were just glad that we could play our part in making it happen. And even later when we brought on CORD –SL as our local partner to drive the construction, we were always very clear that it wasn’t One Girl’s school, or CORD’s school – it belonged to the community itself.

It’s the Magbafth community who will own and maintain the school, and of course it’ll be their children who enjoy it, for generations to come.

The first step of the construction process was laying out the pegs for the concrete pour. Doesn’t sound like it’s a particularly exciting activity, does it? But the entire community turned out for it – it was an event, a celebration! Our partners even said community members and children were “dancing in jubilation at the construction site”!

Magbafth community school

With the engineers, supervisor, and local construction crew getting the work started, it wasn’t long before the concrete was poured, laying the foundation for the new school.

Magbafth school construction

Magbafth school concrete pour

Magbafth school concrete pour

And there it is – a beautiful, freshly poured foundation all ready for a school to built on top of!

Magbafth foundation

Magbafth concrete slab

One of our favourite parts of CORD’s report is the interviews they did with two members of the Magbafth community. You can really hear how passionate they are about educating their children, and how much the new school means to them.

Magbafth community interviews

Mr Fornah, the Head Teacher of the Tonkolili District Primary School, calls the new school “a long standing dream” and he says this was finally realized “when the school project was launched and work started in earnest, and today the sub-structure is complete and the smiles continue to glimmer on our faces.”

Fatmata is mother, who has four children enrolled at the school in Magbafth. She says the construction of a new school, “brings to mind how unfortunate we have been in our days as parents of this present generation by not having access to such an opportunity to go to school to be able to read and write in English.” But Fatmata says, “this long-standing sadness has been wiped away with the advent of this new project. It is time for us to start building the future of a new generation full of hope”.

You can read the full interviews in the full report here.

Together with CORD-SL’s expert engineers and construction supervisors, local Magbafth community members will also be part of the construction team. This emphasises again that the school is truly Magbafth’s – and they themselves are a vital part of the entire process. They’ll also be responsible for securing all the construction materials and making sure nothing goes missing from the storage so that the build can continue according to plan (read more about these security safeguards here).

All in all, the first stage of construction’s gone off without a hitch! This isn’t just a new school building – it’s the start of a new future for the children of Magbafth and the entire community too. Watch this space for updates on the next phase – when we see the walls going up and the school really start to take shape. We can’t wait.